Travel Tips, Trip Reports

Do’s and Dont’s for your first trip to Xcaret Cultural Eco-Archaeological Park in Mexico

Everyone knows that if you’re vacationing in Mexico you won’t find yourself at a loss for things to do and see.  Aside from the flawless beaches of the region there are many activities that will keep you busy during your vacation. One of our top recommendations for visitors to Cancun and Riviera Maya is the cultural eco park Xcaret.  Combining the wonder of the Mexican jungle and ancient Mayan culture more than 50 exhibits and activities for the entire family this park has it all!  Families, adventure seekers and blissful newlyweds all will find something they’ll love at Xcaret.  Here are my most important tips for Xcaret:

Do plan to visit Xcaret if you are in Riviera Maya. 

This may seem like a no brainer recommendation but I know how it is when you’re on vacation and you haven’t narrowed down what your activities or schedule will be.  On our first trip to Riviera Maya with both kids there were so many activities to consider and we weren’t sure what we wanted to do or see.  We almost passed on a chance to visit Xcaret.  Fortunately in our research we found a great coupon for two day tickets for our family and we took the plunge.  It was one of the best memories of our whole trip.  Talking about two day tickets…

Don’t try to see the whole park in one day

We snagged the two day tickets mostly because the deal was so good (it was a limited time BOGO deal).  And boy were we glad we did.  The park has over 50 exhibits and activities including cenote rivers, mayan ruins, aquatic animal exhibits, a mayan village with hands on learning about mayan culture, beach activities and more.  It is just not possible to see everything and do everything in one day at the park.  On the first day we explored the park and swam in the cenote river (you can read about that, um, interesting adventure here).  We were so wiped out after the cenote swim that we called it a day around 4pm and headed back to our resort to rest.  The following day we arrived later in the day and spent the evening at the magnificent night time show (see below).  Even with these two days there we still left without experiencing some of the exhibits.   Keeping this mind I would highly suggest that you…

Do your research before hand and plan your day(s) at the park

I’m a planner by nature but I didn’t do enough prior research before our visit to Xcaret.  The park has a great website with details on most of the exhibits and maps on the layout.  The park is massive and it can take a long time to walk from one end to the other.  With this in mind, knowing what you want to see and do most, prior to arriving, is the best way for you to maximize your time at the park.  I will be honest: it can be a bit overwhelming as you peruse the myriad of activities but with a little time and attention you can narrow down the essentials you want to see.  I didn’t plan well and on our second day we arrived, wanting to experience certain exhibits only to find that they were closed.  We were disappointed but we had already seen and done so much at Xcaret that we got over it, lol.

xcaret show mexico

Don’t miss the Mexico Espectacular Show in the evening

I am often a bit of a skeptic. When something is much praised and quite popular I always am a bit suspicious of the credibility of the reviews.  We repeatedly heard about the nightly show at Xcaret, from the staff at the resort we were staying in, the taxi drivers and even random guests at our resort.  The reviews online are also stellar.  The evening show is included in admission to Xcaret so we decided to make the show our main focus on the second day at the park.  We were not disappointed!

xcaret cancun mexico

The show is held each night at 7pm in a massive and beautiful stadium-like setting in the park.  The Mexico Espectacular Show is an epic multi-sensory show with over hundreds of performers and live animals. Historical reenactments, musical numbers, dramatic moments and even a super cool demonstration of the ancient mayan game pok-ta-pok!  Seeing this show after our visit to Chichen Itza earlier in that trip made history come alive. The kids were engrossed as much as the adults were!  I can’t say enough about it.  Just go.  Do NOT miss this show.

xcaret cancun mexico dolphin

Do prepare for a busy, very active day

My last tip may seem obvious but pre-planning goes a long way to helping you make the most of your trip.  As with any park, plan for lots of walking in warm (hot, depending on when you visit) weather.  The park is beautifully landscaped with lots of trees and vegetation and many of the walkways are protected by foliage cover.  Nonetheless, the park is huge and you will be walking a lot as you explore.  Comfortable shoes are very important as well as comfortable clothing!  There are lockers available for rent and multiple clean locker rooms with showers and changing areas throughout the park.  Outside food and drinks are not allowed in Xcaret but there are 10 restaurants and many snack bars throughout the park which offer something for everyone!

I can’t say enough good things about Xcaret!  It remains one of our most memorable experiences in Riviera Maya and I would love to visit again.  If you have any plans to visit Cancun and the surrounding areas please let me know or send me a message (see the contact me link above) as I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have!  Have any of you been to Xcaret or had an immersive cultural experience like this during your travels?


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  • Reply GiGi Eats March 27, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I love lists like this because it helps me plan accordingly!! Now I just need to plan a trip to Mexico – which needs to happen soon because your photos make it look majestic and um, I have actually never been to MEXICO in my life!!!

  • Reply Amber Myers March 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I’ll keep these tips in mind if we’re ever in the area. I so hope we can go. It looks gorgeous and relaxing. My kids would love the animals.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      My kids absolutely loved the animals, all around! They were sorry they missed the aquarium exhibit….

  • Reply Emily Fata, March 27, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    This place looks so magical and relaxing! I’d love to visit here one day and chill on the beach by waters this blue. <3

  • Reply Jeanette RAdmall March 27, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    This location looks heavenly! Now I want to get some flip flops on and GO!

  • Reply Ann F. Snook-Moreau March 27, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    This park seems perfect for experiencing Riveria Maya all in one place. That nighttime show looks especially amazing!

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      I agree with you; it is a fantastic place celebrating the breadth of culture in Riviera Maya…

  • Reply Sarah Bailey March 27, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Oh my goodness what an amazing sounding part to go and explore. I like the tip about not doing it all in one day, knowing that can really make a difference.

  • Reply Gladys Parker March 27, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Xcaret Park sounds amazing! The show in itself sounds like a reason to go. I have close second cousins that are Mexican and visit their family there often, speak fluently etc so a trip with them would make it easier, fun to spend time with them and they could explain more about the cultural stuff we would see. I’m getting excited.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      That sounds like so much fun! I loved how Xcaret was easy to navigate and explore for non Spanish speaking people but it still held all of it’s authentic Mexican culture! During our visit we could tell that it’s a frequently visited place by international tourists and Mexicans alike!

  • Reply Christina March 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Sounds like y’all had an amazing trip, even without the planning. Sometimes it’s good to just wing it. 🙂

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      You’re right! I’m learning to balance our adventures, a little spontaneity mixed in with the planning!

  • Reply Sondra Barker March 27, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    This looks like an incredible place for a vacation. Id love to visit.

  • Reply Cristina Coroiu March 28, 2018 at 3:56 am

    What a great place. I would love to go there. It looks amazing. I would love to see the dolphins show and walk around and explore.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      We missed the dolphin show this time! We hope to catch it next time we visit…

  • Reply Terri Beavers March 28, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I’m bad about trying to fit everything into one day so I’m glad you mentioned NOT doing that, lol. This would be a wonderful place to take the grandkids. They love the water.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      This is a perfect place for families and adult travelers alike. We saw SOOOOO many families (many locals!) spending a full day there. There is much to see for all ages.

  • Reply Evelyn, PathofPresence 🦋 March 28, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I’ve never been to this resort. It looks lovely, and inviting. Right about now, I am ready to board the plane and get off to warmer weather. Thanks so much for introducing this to me. I’ll have a look. =)

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      I love sharing the warm happy vibes 🙂

  • Reply Elizabeth O March 28, 2018 at 9:34 am

    This place looks absolutely idyllic. Your tips will definitely help anybody visiting this lovely place!

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      It really is a beautiful place. You should definitely consider it if you’re ever in Mexico.

  • Reply Jessica Taylor March 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Wow there seems like there is a lot to do here! No wonder you don’t recommend trying to do everything in one day!

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      I learned that the hard way. Our first day there I was disappointed that we didn’t get to do more. But now I’m learning to take it easy, lol.

  • Reply Nazrin Miah March 28, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I have that probkem – I always try to fit everything into one day & then exhaust myself. I should really learn to spread it out during the days so I can enjoy myself more!

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam March 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      It’s easier said than done. Believe me, I hear you! When we do get to visit somewhere new we want to pack in as much as we can so we don’t miss anything… I’m learning to take a slower pace when we travel.

  • Reply Dana Peller March 28, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on the Dos and Don’ts! Sometimes you forget to just relax and enjoy yourself when you’re on vacation. And that often leads to needing a vacation FROM your vacation 🙂

  • Reply Nancy at Whispered Inspirations March 28, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    This is so amazing! I can’t believe how much there is to do here! No wonder you said not to attempt to do it all in one day.

  • Reply Fatima Torres March 28, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I love that you mentioned not trying to see the whole place in one day. It’s important to appreciate the place for what it is, and to take your time to explore it. 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer Prince March 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    It’s great advice to not try to do it in a day. So many times trying to do too much at a time causes me to not enjoy things to their fullest.

  • Reply Candice March 28, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Oh my gosh AMAZING. I want to go so bad <3

  • Reply Jennifer L March 29, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Oh I absolutely adore Xcaret. Anytime I’m in Cancun vacationing I make it out to the park for atleast a day. The night show is absolutely stunning. I definitely recommend the dinner package with the show, so worth the price.

  • Reply Anvita March 29, 2018 at 10:34 am

    This time a couple years ago we were in Cancun, enjoying our holiday. We just wanted to bludge in the resort so thats all we did. This is on our cards for our next trip.

  • Reply Holly Hood March 29, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I love your list. Your pics are great. You really make you vacation look like so much fun. It looks gorgeous and relaxing.

  • Reply Angela Milnes March 29, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    It definitely takes up a lot of your fun time if you’re trying to plan it all out when there. Planning before hand is definitely the way to go in my experience!

  • Reply David Allen Elliott March 30, 2018 at 5:54 am

    They look like they have so many different things there. It would be fun for the whole family. I an see what you mean by not trying to fit it all in a day though. It just wouldn’t work and you wouldn’t appreciate it the same way.

  • Reply kim March 31, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Wow… this looks like an amazing place to visit! I will definitely check out traveling here and will be sure to preplan before going!

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